Exercising early in the morning “jump starts” your metabolism, keeping it elevated for hours, sometimes for up to 24 hours! As a result, you’ll be burning more calories all day long–just because you exercised in the morning.
Exercising in the morning energizes you for the day–not to mention that gratifying feeling of virtue you have knowing you’ve done something disciplined and good for you.
Studies have shown that exercise significantly increases mental acuity–a benefit that lasts four to ten hours after your workout ends. Exercising in the a.m. means you get to harness that brainpower, instead of wasting it while you’re snoozing. Think how much more effective you’ll be at work, school, or any activity!
Assuming you make exercise a true priority, it shouldn’t be a major problem to get up 30 to 60 minutes earlier–especially since regular exercise generally means a higher quality of sleep, which in turn means you’ll probably require less sleep. (If getting up 30 to 60 minutes earlier each day seems too daunting, you can ease into it with 10 to 20 minutes at first.) But you can see the benefits of even a quick 20 minute walk first thing. It’s ok to jump start your brain with a little black coffee, maybe some green tea – but don’t forget to drink and bring that water! You’re dehydrated from no fluids all night so you need to replenish!
When you exercise at about the same time every morning–especially if you wake up regularly at about the same time–you’re regulating your body’s endocrine system and circadian rhythms. Your body learns that you do the same thing just about every day, and it begins to prepare for waking and exercise several hours before you actually open your eyes. Exercise Extra: More than 90% of those who exercise consistently have a morning fitness routine. If you want to exercise on a regular basis, the odds are in your favor if you squeeze your workout into the a.m.
Not only is exercising early, before starting major activities, good for you, it’s even better for your kids. In the book “Spark” about the revolutionary relationship between exercise and enhanced mental performance (a pretty easy read but “science geek” heaven!), the author talks about a study done in a low performing school in Illinois. Through instituting “Zero Period” exercise, mainly cardio, and overhauling PE as we know it, to focus on maintaining max heart rates and grading on effort, they saw significant impacts on the grades of the students in that program. They also started a “Leadership Program” that uses a climbing wall and peer support to improve social skills and condidence. Keeping to small groups, using the heart monitors, donations of high end elipticals/stationary bikes, and activity based video games all helped turn old school gym class into the most popular class in school. AND that school went on to record scores on standardized tests and some amazing placements in international testing.
Bottom line: If your kids bottoms are glued to the chair in front of a game console or computer, investing in some of the very fun activity games and finding family outdoor activties to do together will show on their report cards. If you make it fun and involve everyone in the decision making, you’ll start a family tradition that will help keep you fit and provide the tools for greater academic success – and future job success – for your kids!